Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

12/01/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011


Dear Mr. Geek,

I am a Wisconsin resident with valid and up-to-date plate stickers on my vehicle (for the state of WI), and will be staying in Chicago for about 10 days. My friends live in an area (Irving Park/N. Clarendon) where no residential parking passes are needed, but do I still need to purchase a city pass or guest passes for just the 10 days?

I've heard both yes and no. As long as I'm parked in a safe area where overnight parking is o.k., no restrictions, I should be alright for those 10 days, correct?

The main issue I have is, I am staying one night, then flying out of O'Hare to L.A. for a week (while leaving my car in that neighborhood instead of paying O'Hare parking fees), then coming back and staying in Chicago one more night before finally retreating back to Wisconsin. This brings the total of 10 days/nights of my car being in the city.

I have successfully stayed in Chicago for four days straight with no parking ticket issues in the past, but am worried about the 10. Any response ASAP would be great!! Thanks for your help!!



Dude, you should be fine. No passes should be necessary if you are not parking in a residential parking zone.

The only thing you may want to check into is street cleaning schedules. Many a person on vacation for a week or so, has returned to taste the metallic bitterness of frustration upon seeing a bright orange ticket on their car's windshield.

Have your buddies call the Alderman's office to see when the next street cleaning is scheduled or check out the city's online street cleaning schedules.

You may want to leave the keys for your pals to be able to move your car if need be, if they see a street cleaning sign go up.

Have a safe and enjoyable time in L.A.

Very truly yours,

The Parking Ticket Geek

P.S. What the hell happened to the Brewers?!?

Dear Parking Geek,

I received a Double Parking citation in front of my house while I was unloading a few items yesterday. I was parked next to my roommates vehicle and had my emergency lights on. I live on a quiet residential street and cannot believe I got a ticket. Is there anyway to contest this?




From your note, it sounds like you were double-parked. So, the chances are, this ticket may be a hard one to beat. Unlike parking in bus stops or alleys or loading zones, where you can park temporarily if you are expeditiously loading or unloading passengers or boxes or objects, there is no such provision in regards to double-parking.

However ... I believe you can make a solid legal argument to beat this ticket.

The Chicago municipal code defines the term "parking", under section 9-4-010 as:

"Parking (to park)" means the standing of an unoccupied vehicle otherwise than temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading property or passengers.

You could make the argument, that because you were "engaged in the unloading of property," you were technically not "parked" and therefore did not meet the definition of the violation under the law.

Therefore, this argument meets one of the city's seven allowable defenses:

6-The illegal condition described in the compliance violation notice did not exist at the time the notice was issued;

From your story and my reading of the municipal code, you might have a shot at beating this.

It might not hurt to have your friend come with you to a hearing or write up a statement and have it notarized that supports your statement. And make sure you cite the municipal code I listed above to the hearing officer.

I wouldn't get cocky or over-confident with my assessment. It's not a surefire winner, but definitely worth a shot.

What the hell? Go for it, fight the ticket and see what happens. The worst thing if you lose is that you get more time to pay your ticket.

Good luck and keep the Geek posted.

Very truly yours,

The P.T.G.

Dear Parking Ticket Geek,

Esoteric question, but what power do they ultimately have?

I was a Chicago resident for years, but now I live in Germany. I came back to Chicago this summer, got my car out of storage in Ohio, drove through Chicago with valid IL plates, and of course got hit for a city sticker ticket. I appealed. They denied.

Now I'm going through the anger stage (I'm a documented resident of Germany but my CAR is a resident of Chicago?). I no longer own the car, and I no longer have an IL drivers license.

Any idea of what happens if I let anger get the best of me and ignore it?


Herr Ray-

I say, embrace your anger and tell the city to "Shove it!".

Don't pay it! You live in Germany!

How do you say "Shove it" in German?

You don't have a car to boot (plus it's only 1 ticket) or an American address to send the collection letters.

If the city tickets a non-resident for not having a city sticker, and still, despite contesting this illegitimate ticket, the city doesn't dismiss the ticket, you have a moral duty to NOT pay that ticket.

In your particular case, I can't see the downside to not paying.

Enjoy your time in Germany.

Auf Wiedersehen!

The Parking Ticket Geek